34 Italian Food Recipes

Italian Wedding Soup
Photo: © Pernille Pedersen

Bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen with these fantastic Italian recipes. From easy ravioli to crisp-skinned porchetta, these dishes are full of flavor and perfect for your family dinner or party. Try one of these amazing dishes tonight.

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Bucatini Carbonara

Bucatini Carbonara
© Anna Williams

Italian carbonara is famously rich, combining pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks and cheese. Chef Linton Hopkins adds his own Southern accent to the dish with house-cured pork and local eggs.

02 of 34

Herbed Fazzoletti with Asparagus and Burrata

Herbed Fazzoletti with Asparagus and Burrata. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

Creamy burrata cheese and tender asparagus pair well in this elegant pasta dish.

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Chicken alla Diavola

Chicken alla Diavola
© Dana Gallagher

Salvatore Denaro's pollo alla diavola ("devil's-style chicken") is intensely seasoned. Two days prior to cooking, Denaro infuses white wine vinegar with a big bunch of dried Sicilian oregano for a marinade. Then he seasons the marinated chicken with an exotic herb mixture, or condimento, that includes Turkish bay laurel ("the only kind to use," Denaro says) and myrtle leaves. Feel free to experiment with a variety of herbs for the condimento.

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Eggplant Caponata with Golden Raisins

Eggplant Caponata with Golden Raisins
© Michael Turek

As a nod to the grape harvest, chef Ben Towill adds golden raisins to this tangy caponata. It's delicious on toast or with pecorino cheese.

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Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant

Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant
Quentin Bacon

Efisio Farris, the executive chef at Arcodoro in Houston, says that his mother used only eggplants from the first pick of the season (le primizie) for this dish because of their supple texture and earthy-sweet flavor without a hint of bitterness. But if you don't have the primizie option, you should seek out firm, heavy eggplants with smooth, evenly colored skin. Check for ripeness by pressing them lightly; if this leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ready to use.

06 of 34

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce
© Catherine Ledner

Former Gotham Bldg Tavern chef Tommy Habetz describes gnudi as "ravioli filling without the pasta." He learned how to make his outrageously light and creamy version while working at the former New York City restaurant Pó.

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Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini

Toasted Pistachio–Cheese Arancini
© Ditte Isager

This recipe for arancini — fried risotto balls — comes from Renato Poliafito, who got it from his Sicilian cousin Emanuele Sanfilippo. "Renato is obsessed with arancini," says Matt Lewis, "especially this version with toasted pistachios." These arancini are the size of tangerines, filled with creamy, cheesy rice, studded with nuts and green peas and encased in a great crunchy crust.

08 of 34

Autumn Fritto Misto

autumn fritto misto
© John Kernick

Antonio Ciminelli prepares this starter year-round with whatever produce is in season. In the fall, that means apples, mushrooms and late-harvest zucchini, fried in a batter made extra-light and crisp by adding sparkling wine and whipped egg white. The fritto misto is best eaten hot from the pan, perhaps served in a paper cone.

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Beef Brasato with Pappardelle and Mint

Beef Brasato with Pappardelle and Mint
© TINA RUPP

Chef Chris Cosentino braises beef shank and oxtail in red wine to make a brasato he serves with housemade mint pappardelle. Instead of oxtail, this dish uses just beef shank. Fresh pappardelle from a store replaces the housemade kind.

10 of 34

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

This dish, from chef Mathieu Perez is a take on the classic Italian mozzarella-tomato-basil Caprese salad. It depends on young, very fresh zucchini and summer squash. To prepare the recipe like Perez does at the restaurant, grate the olives finely with a Microplane grater instead of pureeing them.

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Baked Eggs en Cocotte with Basil

Baked Eggs en Cocotte with Basil
© Fredrika Stjärne

These baked eggs topped with melted butter are Piero Incisa della Rocchetta's go-to breakfast. The dish was also a favorite of his grandfather Mario, the founder of Italy's world-famous Sassicaia winery in Tuscany.

12 of 34

Tuscan-Style Veal Chops

Tuscan-Style Veal Chops
© James Baigrie

"Grill masters all over the world have noticed that when you grill a piece of meat and then anoint it with some kind of fat, it mixes with the meat juices and creates instant sauce," Steven Raichlen says. In Tuscany, olive oil is the fat of choice for finishing herbed veal chops like these.

13 of 34

Chickpea Panelle with Goat Cheese and Salsa Rustica

Chickpea Panelle with Goat Cheese and Salsa Rustica
© John Kernick

Traditional panelle, the popular Sicilian chickpea fritter, is deep-fried. Melissa Kelly forms her panelle onto a sheet, lightly sprinkles it with goat cheese and bakes it. Then she cuts the panelle into pieces and sautés them until they're crisp.

14 of 34

Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram

Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram
© Quentin Bacon

In adapting this recipe from chef Shea Gallante, Marcia Kiesel traded a labor-intensive fresh pasta for premade wonton wrappers and was thrilled with the results. Wonton wrappers are milder-tasting than fresh pasta, which makes them a better showcase for the nutty brown butter, delicate young pecorino cheese and fresh marjoram.

15 of 34

Butter Beans in Miso Bagna Cauda

Butter Beans in Miso Bagna Cauda.
© Quentin Bacon

Creamy butter beans get flavor from a miso dressing in this terrific vegetarian dish .

16 of 34

Chocolate-and-Pistachio Biscotti

Chocolate-and-Pistachio Biscotti
© John Kernick

Kevin Sbraga varies these wonderful nutty biscotti, sometimes dipping them in melted dark chocolate for an extra layer of flavor.

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Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad
© John Kernick

This simple green salad is a refreshing antipasto, or appetizer.

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Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles

Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles
© SARA REMINGTON

These tender gnudi, adapted from Nancy Silverton's Mozza Cookbook, are delicious with buttery chanterelles.

19 of 34

Grilled Mackerel with Sicilian Caper-Tomato Salsa

Grilled Mackerel with Sicilian Caper-Tomato Salsa
© John Kernick

"Give mackerel a chance," begs Michael White. The Spanish fish he imports from Europe is grilled, which makes the skin enticingly crisp, then topped with a refreshing tomato-caper salsa.

20 of 34

Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary

Rabbit Stew with Olives
© John Kernick

"This is one of my favorite things on the planet," says Marco Canora about his savory rabbit stew. He loves sharing the recipe with his students because it's an opportunity to teach them about making battuto (similar to soffrito), a mixture of sautéed onion, celery and carrots that's the base for many Italian dishes.

21 of 34

Pizza Vesuvio with the Works

Pizza Vesuvio with the Works. Photo © Anson Smart
© Anson Smart

This half-pizza, half-calzone is named for Italy's Mount Vesuvius.

22 of 34

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
© Marie Hennechart

Using a recipe Nancy Silverton taught her for a super-buttery dough, chef Dahlia Narvaez made vanilla-scented cookies shaped like mezzaluna ("half moon") pasta and filled them with a mixed-berry jam she found in Panicale.

23 of 34

Porcini Risotto

Porcini Risotto
© James Merrell

Daniel Humm's exceptionally easy risotto gets a sublime earthiness from fresh and dried porcini mushrooms.

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Italian Seafood Stew

Italian Seafood Stew
© John Kernick

In this luscious, tomato-rich stew, Marco Canora cooks calamari slowly until it becomes supertender. He says calamari is absolutely essential to the success of the dish, because it releases its liquid as it simmers, which adds a huge amount of flavor to the sauce. "I'm a big fan of substitutions," he says, "but not in this case."

25 of 34

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto
© Kana Okada

Cooks in Italy fry cauliflower to bring out its nuttiness. Here, Ethan Stowell deep-fries it for a salad with salty prosciutto and nubby farro (a variety of whole-grain wheat).

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Easy Ravioli

Easy Ravioli

© Antonis Achilleos

"Always err on the side of making ravioli dough a little bit sticky," Domenica Marchetti says. "You can sprinkle on more flour as you roll it out."

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Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
© Quentin Bacon

The style of this gooey lasagna is called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways — for instance, folded over the filling — instead of traditionally layered.

28 of 34

Vanilla Zabaglione with Raspberries

Zabaglione with Strawberries
© Stephanie Shih

The ethereal Italian dessert sauce zabaglione (known in French as sabayon) consists of egg yolks beaten with sugar and the Sicilian fortified dessert wine Marsala. Steeping vanilla seeds in the Marsala adds lovely flavor; folding in whipped cream increases the decadence factor.

29 of 34

Spinach-and-Sausage-Stuffed Peppers

Spinach-and-Sausage-Stuffed Peppers
© Quentin Bacon

"I may never use ground meat in my peppers again," said Fran Parisi, Grace Parisi's mother, when she tried this super-flavorful sausage-stuffed version. Another revelation: Smaller Italian frying peppers are much easier to brown in a skillet than the typical green bell peppers, and they also cook faster.

30 of 34

Frozen Chocolate-Chip Meringata

Frozen Chocolate-Chip Meringata

© Martin Morrell

Meringata — Italian for "meringue cake" — is an elegant yet homey frozen dessert of whipped cream sandwiched between meringue rounds. Rolando Beramendi slices the meringata and serves it with a warm chocolate-espresso sauce.

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Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni.
© Quentin Bacon

Chef Bryan Vietmeier merges two Italian-American favorites here: chicken parm and pepperoni.

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Gorgonzola, Fig, and Pancetta Pizza

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza. Photo © Anson Smart
© Anson Smart

This sweet and salty pizza is topped with salty pancetta, gorgonzola, and juicy fresh figs.

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Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

This light, silky panna cotta tastes a lot like hot cocoa in custard form. The brittle is easy to make; heat sugar and water on the stove, swirl in butter and spiced pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), then let cool.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
© Pernille Pedersen

Former F&W editor Grace Parisi prefers real minestra maritata (Italian wedding soup). She makes tiny pork meatballs and simmers them with orzo, chickpeas, spinach, and parmesan. She occasionally substitutes green beans for the spinach, depending on who is at the table.

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